Century Market Fair
Locust Grove to offer
rare look at life on an early Kentucky farm
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 2006) Upon learning
through genealogical research that his ancestors were some of the first
Europeans to settle in Kentucky, Rod Smothers knew he had to learn more
about these people and the times in which they lived. He took the plunge
into re-enacting six years ago and became hooked on Kentuckys
importance in the Revolutionary War period.
and American soldier re-enactors
and mock battles will draw a crowd to
Locust Groves Market Fair.
While visiting Vincennes, Ind., Smothers, 51, met a re-enactor
who encouraged me to begin to put together my kit
clothes, weapons, accoutrements, so I could begin to attend
(historical events) as a participant.
He first participated in the Battle of Bluelicks re-enactment, held
every August at Blue Licks State Resort Park in Robertson County, Ky.
This gave him a taste of what it was like to be on the other side
of the fence.
Smothers enjoyed the experience so much that he built his own flintlock
rifle, became more attentive to his clothing and let his hair grow long,
all in order to obtain a more period correct appearance. I began
reading about the importance of the Kentucky Frontier in the Revolutionary
War and visiting important sites, he said.
Smothers is just one of 300 re-enactors who will come to Locust Grove,
a historic home in Louisville, on Oct. 28-29. An 18th century Market
Fair will be held on the grounds from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday,
and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for
children 6-12 and for seniors 62 and older.
The event is a great look back at 18th century fairs where people
would gather to trade goods and meet with one another, said Aileen
M. Novick, program director for Locust Grove. This event is sponsored
by Historic Locust Grove in association with Kellars Company,
Illinois Regiment of Virginia.
A big draw for this event is the number of re-enactors, who will portray
soldiers from the British and American forces and a few Hessians. Different
re-enacting groups will hold mock battles in the field in front of the
historic home, and many civilian re-enactors will portray camp followers.
The fair will contain about 30 vendors selling 18th century style goods,
which include such handmade crafts as pottery, soap, clothing, floor
cloths, wooden crafts, woolen goods, toys and household items.
The entertainment is all 18th century style as well, said
Novick. The Amazing Budabi Brothers will astound the public by juggling
swords and fire, Silas Moore the Rat Catcher will wander the grounds,
great Italian equilibrist Signora Bella will perform, and French lace
maker Monsieur Le Farceur de Villeverte (Tim Nealeigh) will educate
listeners about lace making.
A returning favorite with patrons will be 18th century musicians Father,
Son & Friends.
Their style of music incorporates a Celtic flair and keeps things lively
during the annual Barn Brou Ha Ha from 7-9 p.m., complete with giant
bonfire and scary stories. In addition, the Duffys will play their own
brand of music with hammered dulcimer and fiddle, and the general public
is encouraged to attend the night performances in Halloween costumes.
We host this event to educate the public in an entertaining way,
said Novick. People are given a real idea of what life was like
in the 18th century on an early Kentucky farm.
Locust Grove Market Fair offers
shopping and a history lesson.
Locust Grove is special because it is an actual
historical site with an original house and many family items that can
be traced back to the familys earliest days in Kentucky,
said Smothers. The Croghan family lived in the home, as well as Gen.
George Rogers Clark, for a time.
Being able to educate the public about a specific time period, and the
sacrifices made by our ancestors and their daily lives, is one reason
Smothers continues to re-enact. Another reason is those magical moments
he experiences in camp when there are no evidences of the 21st century.
Its like being IN a movie rather than watching it,
Smothers is a member of Benjamin Logans Kentucky County Militia
(1777). He portrays a temporary soldier, as militiamen were called upon
for relatively short stints of 30, 60 or 90 days for particular campaigns.
After they were released from duty, the militiamen often returned to
their lives as farmers, craftsmen or merchants. For this reason, Smothers
civilian activity is that of portraying a flax farmer. He actually grows
flax and demonstrates the process of turning flax into linen.
He has collected or built the period correct tools necessary to turn
flax weeds into beautiful linen. Many people never really think
about how clothes were made in the 18th century or how they get on store
shelves today, said Smothers, whose day job is that of Chief Information
Officer for Trimble County Schools.
Benjamin Logan was an early Kentucky frontiersman who built Logans
Fort near Stanford, Ky. Smothers military re-enacting group uses
the 1764 manual of arms used during the French and Indian War.
Logans Company is probably best known for escorting the
Hairbuyer Henry Hamilton to Williamsburg to stand trial
following George Rogers Clarks victorious Northwest Territory
Campaign, said Smothers.
About a year and a half ago, Smothers assembled a group of people who
formed the non-profit Falls Landing Foundation to establish a local
event to commemorate Gen. George Rogers Clarks landing at Corn
Island in Louisville. To learn more about this group, visit: www.fallslanding.org.
For more information on the 18th century
Market Fair, contact Aileen Novick at (502) 897-9845 or visit: locustgrove.org.
Hamilton to speak at Locust Grove
Historic Locust Grove in Louisville prepares for this
Novembers Bicentennial Homecoming of Lewis & Clark with a
free lecture by local sculptor Ed Hamilton.
Hamilton will discuss creating the memorial to honor York, the slave
of William Clark, who was a vital part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The 8-foot heroic bronze was dedicated on the Belvedere on Oct. 14,
2003, as part of Louisvilles Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Celebration.
After Ed Hamiltons lecture, a book signing will be held in celebration
of his autobiography, The Birth of an Artist: A Journey of Discovery.
This free lecture was made possible by a grant from the Kentucky Lewis
and Clark Bicentennial Commission and a grant from the Falls of the
Ohio Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee.
The Fall 2006 series of lectures will focus on the Lewis & Clark
Expedition in preparation for the Bicentennial Homecoming this November.
Historic Locust Groves Afternoon Lecture Series is held the first
Wednesday of each month. Dessert and coffee are served at 1 p.m.
with the lecture immediately following at 1:15 p.m. Reservations are
For more information call (502) 897-9845.
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